A player debut — be it season, level, club or organization — comes with a variety of emotions. Faced with unfamiliar surroundings, prospects often admit to being nervous or anxious while being geared up to prove themselves in front of new coaches and teammates. Of course, sometimes they’re just exhausted
A player debut — be it season, level, club or organization — comes with a variety of emotions. Faced with unfamiliar surroundings, prospects often admit to being nervous or anxious while being geared up to prove themselves in front of new coaches and teammates. Of course, sometimes they’re just exhausted from the off-field logistics and the actual travel of moving to a new city.
For a select few, that mix of chaos, hope and joy turns into something great. Maybe they rise to the occasion, or maybe they just belonged at that level the whole the time, but either way, a great debut can be quite a show for fans watching at home or in the stands.
Below are four of the most impressive debuts in 2019 that you can watch during the MiLB.TV free preview. Head over to Twitter to vote on which one MiLB should stream on Thursday!
Soroka’s perfect start for Stripers
Mike Soroka was not in the Minors long in 2019, getting called up to the Majors on April 18. But before putting together a remarkable Rookie of the Year campaign, the Braves right-hander was putting on a show at Triple-A. The then-No. 24 overall prospect in baseball retired all 15 batters he faced with seven strikeouts in his season debut with Gwinnett. What’s also notable is that Soroka hadn’t pitched in a real game since June 2018 after battling shoulder inflammation that summer and shoulder discomfort the following spring. But he put all that behind him on April 6. And not only did the Canadian hurler spin a gem, but fellow former top prospect Austin Riley clubbed two homers in the win. Full story | Highlight: Soroka ends on a high note | Watch game
Mize unhittable in SeaWolves bow
Casey Mize has yet to throw a pitch in the Majors, but his legend is already growing. After being selected first overall in the 2018 Draft, the top Tigers prospect (and No. 7 overall) has turned heads at every stop in the Minors. But even the most avid Mize fans couldn’t help but be in awe of his Double-A debut on April 29. Just two days before his 22nd birthday, the Auburn product showed nerves early by plunking the first batter he faced, but a double play erased the mistake and Mize was off, retiring 19 straight Curve foes. The dominance was haulted only briefly by a walk, but it didn’t matter. Mize was in the zone. After 98 pitches, the right-hander completed a Maddux for the no-hitter and his first Eastern League win. The game remained tops across the Minors, winning Performance of the Year. Full story | Highlight: Mize completes no-hitter | Watch game
Robert blasts off in Knights debut
Luis Robert is a big debuts guy. The No. 3 overall prospect started 2019 with two homers and five RBIs for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in April. But two levels later, he one-upped himself. With most of Major League Baseball off for All-Star week, Robert and Triple-A Charlotte became one of the biggest attractions on July 11. The leadoff hitter lifted a grand slam for his first Triple-A hit and added another jack to turn a strong debut into a spectacular one. At the end of the day, Robert’s line in the box score read 3-for-5 with two homers and seven RBIs, which broke his previous personal high that he set on Opening Day. Fans will have to wait for Robert’s next big debut — which is likely to come with Chicago — but until then, this was a introduction to remember. Full story | Highlight: Robert clubs second homer | Watch game
Crawford racks up whiffs for Drillers
After proving he could hold his own in the most hitter-friendly circuit (California), Leo Crawford got the bump to the Texas League on Aug. 6 and remained dialed in. The Dodgers prospect started things off with bang, striking out the first four batters he faced. The punchouts continued to roll in as Crawford didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. But after three straight singles, the southpaw got right back to work with three straight K’s to stop the threat. And for his final out, Crawford got eventual Breakout Prospect of the YearDylan Carlson to line back to the mound. In total, the Nicaraguan hurler struck out a career-high 11 over six scoreless frames for a heck of a Double-A debut. Full story | Highlight: Crawford shows cat-like reflexes | Watch game
Kelsie Heneghan is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.